Dedicated Teacher Takes Flight with Save The Bay: Introducing Jeff Sandler

Jeff Sandler: local teacher and Alaska Airlines tickets prize-winner!

“Is this legit? Really? Is this all… kosher?”

Like any gifted scientist, Jeff Sandler views great results with even greater skepticism.

He’d won our Alaska Airlines prize after making his first-ever $250 donation to Save The Bay? A local teacher who regularly brings students to our SEED programs?

Jeff worried it was all a fix – too good a story to be true. Two round-trip airline tickets to anywhere they fly with no restrictions – a dream prize!

Students gathering mulch to protect new transplants

My team stressed: he’d won it fair and square.

A computer pulled Jeff’s name at random, but we at Save The Bay must admit: we’re happy for him.

Jeff, after all, has taken students from The Berkeley School to our restoration sites for the last five years.

Through generous gifts, Save The Bay makes outdoor education a reality for thousands of young people every year.

Jeff loves the sense of purpose Save The Bay programs provides his classes as they connect with local wetlands. “There’s always a goal for each day – mulch this section, remove this invasive plant.” Jeff says the hands-on activities truly stick. “I’m always thrilled at how much they remember trip to trip – details about estuaries and watersheds.”

Save The Bay programs help connect students to local wetlands

Trash is just one topic his students mull over long after they’ve helped clean up the shoreline. “When they see that a lot of that is food wrappers from sewers – it stays with them. Plus, I can take that and go off on a tangent about harmful plastic!”

By donating today, you can help Save The Bay address San Francisco Bay’s most pressing environmental issues in memorable ways for students.

Jeff, meanwhile, is planning a trip somewhere tropical. “My wife just got her scuba diving certification, so I want to take her somewhere warm for her first dive!”

We’re wishing Jeff, his wife, and our caring community a safe and happy New Year.

P.S. Save The Bay and Alaska Airlines have teamed up to make your vacation dreams a reality this holiday season. When you donate at least $250*, you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to win four round-trip airline tickets to anywhere they fly! Your generous support will help us meet our $100,000 goal and protect the Bay we love. Thank you.

(*Terms and conditions apply, see details.)

 

Mice and Marshes: Protecting the Bay I Love

Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers
Arrowhead Marsh, taken by Jim Moyers

I have loved salt marshes ever since I first stepped into one during a college wetlands class in Washington. I breathed in earthy scents. I felt mud squish beneath my boots. I watched birds fly low over the water. Now, the Bay wetlands nourish my spirit, and I am truly grateful they are the place I call home.

As the Habitat Restoration Director at Save The Bay, I am proud that my work leading volunteer and education programs can directly benefit nearby wildlife. Our efforts provide critical habitat for endangered species like the salt marsh harvest mouse. But we never lose sight of the big picture.

Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project
Restoration staff and volunteers working on the Oro Loma Project

Recently, we collaborated with other scientists on the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project – an innovative levee that mimics wetland habitats. Our expert restoration team joined more than 5,000 Save The Bay volunteers to construct the site’s giant outdoor nursery and plant more than 70,000 native seedlings.

The potential benefits are profound, since wetland marshes act like sponges, soaking up water as it rises. If replicated, this horizontal levee model could provide extensive flood protection and create thousands of acres of habitat around San Francisco Bay.

Right now, our Bay faces a triple threat of pollution, sea-level rise and habitat loss. Scientists estimate it needs 100,000 acres of wetlands to be healthy and sustainable. Today, only 40,000 acres exist.

With help from our generous supporters, we can continue working with partners to make significant progress toward that 100,000 acre mark.

The Bay is the heart of my home. Together, we can protect this beautiful resource and all that it offers diverse communities, vibrant plants, and countless animals.

With sincere thanks,

Donna Ball
Habitat Restoration Director

Why Allison Chan Protects the Heart of our Home

Angel Island, one of my favorite scenic escapes by the Bay

I moved to the Bay Area almost ten years ago. I was drawn to the region’s stunning beauty, diverse communities, and delicious food. Each year brings special life experiences for my family; we have countless memories of being together by the Bay. The Bay is the heart of my home. It’s why I’ve chosen to set up roots and raise my daughter here.

But the Bay doesn’t just connect my family; it connects us all.

The Bay defines our geography, bridging the gap between quiet neighborhoods and bustling downtowns. When the pace of city life becomes too frenetic, the Bay offers scenic escapes. It’s integral to our daily lives and vital to our local economy. Because the Bay gives me so much, I do all I can to give back. I work tirelessly with Save The Bay’s policy team to protect the Bay – not just for my family, but for future generations.

Your support makes everything we do possible.

What’s at stake? Each time it rains, litter, PCBs, pesticides, and other toxins are carried into local creeks and the Bay, threatening Bay wildlife and habitat. However, advocacy work and powerful partnerships helped us score significant wins this year to keep trash out of the Bay.

Through a collaboration with Oakland Community Organizations and statewide agencies, we:

  • Exposed the environmental consequences of widespread illegal dumping in Oakland
  • Pushed City Council members to fund solutions for public health and environmental hazards
  • Rallied to support SB 231 (Hertzberg), a pivotal bill that enables cities to raise money for their own water supply and stormwater infrastructure projects

Going forward, Save The Bay plans to ensure that Bay Area cities meet a 2022 deadline to eliminate trash from storm drain systems. We will also promote sustainable urban growth practices and preserve access to the Bay for diverse communities across our region.

Our success is your success. Together, we can make the Bay as clean and healthy as possible.

Thank you for your support and for caring about this big, beautiful Bay as much as I do.

 

Simple Moments, Lifelong Activism: Welcoming Nicole Schmidt to our Education Team

I​ ​am​ excited​ ​to​ ​introduce​ ​myself​ ​as​ ​the​ ​new​ ​Restoration​ ​Education​ ​Specialist​ ​for Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​grateful​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​passionate​ ​and​ ​talented​ ​team​ ​dedicated​ ​to the​ ​protection​ ​and​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​the​ ​tidal​ ​marsh​ ​wetlands​ ​of​ ​the​ ​San​ ​Francisco​ ​Bay.

Studying Environmental​ ​Studies​ ​and​ ​Sociology​ was certainly part of the reason I became an environmental​ ​educator​ ​and environmental​ ​justice​ ​activist. My main source of inspiration? Reading​ ​​Last Child​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Woods​ ​by​ ​Richard​ ​Louv​​ ​​. In​ ​his​ ​thought​-provoking​ ​book,​ ​Louv​ ​connects​ ​the​ ​rising​ trends​ ​of childhood ​obesity,​ ​depression​ ​and​ ​attention​ ​disorders​ ​to​ ​a​ ​decrease​ ​in​ ​spending​ ​time outside. I​ ​want​ ​to​ ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to​ ​unplug,​ ​at​ ​least​ ​for​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​each​ ​day. I want to encourage them to ​slow​ ​down,​ ​be present​, ​and​ ​explore​ ​the outdoors ​with​ ​friends,​ ​family​ ​and​ ​the​ ​surrounding​ ​critters.

I​ ​am​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay​ ​with​ ​over​ ​7​ ​years​ ​of​ ​experience​ ​working​ ​as​ ​an environmental​ ​educator​ ​with​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​and​ ​backgrounds.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​experience​ ​working with​ ​marine​ ​invertebrates,​ ​teaching​ ​about​ ​marine​ ​ecology​ ​and​ ​inspiring​ ​an​ ​ocean​ ​conservation ethic.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​worked​ ​as​ ​a​ ​Naturalist​ ​teaching​ ​lessons​ ​about​ ​sustainability, ecology,​ ​organic gardening,​ ​alternative​ ​forms​ ​of​ ​energy,​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​history​ ​through​ ​experiential​ ​lessons​ ​hiking​ ​in the​ ​Santa​ ​Cruz​ ​Mountains.​

For​ ​the​ ​past​ ​two​ ​years,​ ​I​ ​had​ ​the​ ​incredible​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with Education​ ​Outside​ ​as​ ​the​ ​instructor​ ​at​ ​Cleveland​ ​Elementary​ ​in​ ​San​ ​Francisco.​ ​I​ ​managed​ ​the school​ ​garden​, as well as​ ​sustainability​ ​programs​ ​on campus ​and throughout the ​community.​  My​ ​favorite​ ​moments​ ​as​ ​an educator​ ​in​ ​these​ ​roles​ ​were​ ​when​ ​students​ ​found​ ​something​ ​that​ ​interested​ ​them,​ ​slowed down,​ ​observed,​ ​asked​ ​questions,​ ​and​ ​remained​ ​in​ ​awe.​ ​They​ ​were​ ​completely​ ​present.​ ​Not worried​ ​about​ ​anything.​ ​Simply​ ​inspired​ ​by​ ​the​ ​beauty​ ​and​ ​wonder​ ​of​ ​nature -​ ​whether​ ​staring at​ ​the ocean,​ ​standing in a redwood​ ​forest,​ or spotting a small​ ​plant​ ​growing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​cracks of a sidewalk.​ ​These are precisely the moments that ​inspire​ ​people​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages​ ​to become​ ​environmental​ ​stewards.

I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​my passion​ ​as​ ​an​ ​educator​ ​to Save​ ​The​ ​Bay.​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​leading​ education,​ ​public​ ​and​ ​corporate​ ​Restoration Programs​ ​at​ ​our​ ​sites​ ​and​ ​engaging​ ​folks​ ​in​ ​hands​-​on​ ​restoration​ ​work.​ ​I​ ​will​ ​also​ ​be​ ​working​ ​on updating​ ​Save​ ​The​ ​Bay’s​ ​curriculum​ ​to​ ​include​ ​lessons​ ​and​ ​activities​ ​aligned​ ​with​ ​Next​ ​Generation Science​ ​Standards​ ​for​ ​each​ ​grade​ ​level.​ ​I​ ​am​ thrilled that I’ll get to ​develop Climate​ ​Change curriculum​ ​for​ ​middle​ ​and​ ​high​ ​school​ ​students.

How​ ​lucky​ ​are​ ​we​ ​to​ ​live​ ​in​ a​ ​breathtaking urban​ ​area​ that’s so close to ​vibrant wildlife habitats​?​ ​I​ ​am​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​working​ ​on​ ​the​ ​restoration​ ​of​ ​our​ ​tidal​ ​marshes.​ ​I encourage​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​come​ ​and​ ​volunteer​ ​at​ ​one​ ​of​ ​our​ ​​volunteer​ ​events​​ ​and ​help​ ​the​ ​Bay​ ​Area remain​ ​ecologically​ ​diverse​ ​and​ ​resilient!

See​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​marsh!

Girls in Science Saving The Bay

“Now we’re walking out… across the marsh!”

This is not something you hear most teens shout on a typical weekday, but a group of take-charge girls from Belmont’s Notre Dame High School got the chance during one of Save The Bay’s DIRT programs. And they did more than announce their next steps: they filmed them!

A student named Gina from Notre Dame’s AP Biology class captured the whole trip on camera as part of a web series called: “Teens Do Science.” Gina caught the action as her classmates took measurements on soil characteristics and assessed plant biodiversity. She was eager to share what they were doing and why it was important, and I was energized by her excitement.

As Save The Bay’s Restoration Education Program Manager, I’m thrilled that our DIRT program teaches 9th through 12th graders from around the Bay Area about soil science and tidal marsh transition zones. But I’m truly excited that DIRT empowers teenagers, especially young women, to feel confident in their math and science skills. Connecting a new generation to our local wetlands through observation, data collection, and hands-on restoration will lead to a brighter future for the Bay Area.

Thank you, Gina and friends, for capturing this exciting day. We hope to see you in the field again soon!